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The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the world's oldest shopping malls. Housed within a four-story double arcade in central Milan, the Galleria is named after Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of the Kingdom of Italy. It was designed in 1861 and built by Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1877.

The structure consists of two glass-vaulted arcades intersecting in an octagon covering the street connecting Piazza del Duomo to Piazza della Scala. The street is covered by an arching glass and cast iron roof, a popular design for 19th-century arcades, such as the Burlington Arcade in London, which was the prototype for larger glazed shopping arcades, beginning with the Saint-Hubert Gallery in Brussels (opened in 1847), the Passazh in St Petersburg (opened in 1848), the Galleria Umberto I in Naples (opened in 1890) and the Budapest Galleria.

The central octagonal space is topped with a glass dome. The Milanese Galleria was larger in scale than its predecessors and was an important step in the evolution of the modern glazed and enclosed shopping mall, of which it was the direct progenitor. It has inspired the use of the term galleria for many other shopping arcades and malls.

On the ground of the central octagonal, there are four mosaics portraying the Coat of Arms of the three Capitals of the Kingdom of Italy (Turin, Florence and Rome) plus those of Milan. Tradition tells that if a person put its right heel on the bull's genitals depicted of the bull from Turin Coat of Arms and turn on himself three times, this will bring good luck. This practice causes damage to the mosaic.

The Galleria connects two of Milan's most famous landmarks: The Duomo (Cathedral) and the Teatro Alla Scala, but it is undoubtedly a landmark in its own right.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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Additional Photos by Stephen Nunney (snunney) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6226 W: 61 N: 18129] (81693)
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